47 F.Supp. 671 (D.Conn. 1942), 723, Spector Motor Service v. McLaughlin

Docket Nº:723.
Citation:47 F.Supp. 671
Party Name:SPECTOR MOTOR SERVICE, Inc., v. McLAUGHLIN, Tax Commissioner.
Case Date:November 14, 1942
Court:United States District Courts, 2nd Circuit, District of Connecticut

Page 671

47 F.Supp. 671 (D.Conn. 1942)



McLAUGHLIN, Tax Commissioner.

No. 723.

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

Nov. 14, 1942

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Day, Berry, & Howard and Cyril Coleman, all of Hartford, Conn., and Nair & Nair and Israel Nair, all of New Britain, Conn., for plaintiff.

Francis A. Pallotti, Atty. Gen., of Connecticut, and Leo V. Gaffney, Asst. Atty. Gen., of Connecticut, for defendant.

SMITH, District Judge.

Plaintiff, a Missouri corporation, has its principal office in Illinois. It is engaged in motor transport of goods between points in the Midwest and points in the Northeast. It pioneered in two-way hauls, establishing terminals in each zone for bringing together, sorting, loading, and unloading and distributing freight handled in the long-haul trips. The terminals are of two types, leased terminals used solely by plaintiff, and agency terminals where the plaintiff has the use of terminal facilities of some other carrier.

The plaintiff, at the request of one of its Connecticut lessors, registered as a foreign corporation in the state of Connecticut and paid the minimum license fee. It maintains terminals (leased) at Bridgeport and New Britain, with office furniture owned by it, and some five pick-up trucks held by it under conditional bill of sale, registered and used solely in Connecticut. It maintains staffs to handle freight at both terminals, as well as to handle local bookkeeping. A sales staff is maintained and paid at the New Britain office. The usual method of payment of salaries and bills at the Connecticut offices is by draft on the corporation at Chicago. Some cash is kept at New Britain for the payment of incidental bills. From one-third to one-half of the dollar volume of the plaintiff's business originates in Connecticut. The plaintiff does not engage in any hauls which both originate and terminate in Connecticut or in any other single state. All its long-haul trucks are leased by it from a corporate affiliate, Wallace Transport Company, an Illinois corporation, which owns most of the trucks and obtains some others by lease from individual owner operators.

The State Tax Commissioner, on this state of facts, has determined that plaintiff is subject to the Corporation Business Tax Act of 1935, Gen. St. Supp. 1935, Sec. 416c et seq., as amended, as a corporation carrying on business in this state. He has determined that the income of the plaintiff is derived from the manufacture, sale, or use of tangible personal or real property, and that, therefore, the allocation fraction of Sec. 420c (3)(b), 1935 Supp. to G.S. (Sec. 356e (3)(b), 1939 Supp. to G.S.), should be applied to determine what portion of the net income of the corporation is attributable to business within the state.

The tax is stated in the Act to be a tax or excise upon the franchise of a corporation for the privilege of carrying on or doing business within the state, measured by the entire net income, as therein defined, received by such corporation from business transacted within the state,

Forty percent of the cost of purchased transportation has been ruled by the Commissioner to be 'rent' and not deductible in determining net income under the Act.

The total assessment laid against the plaintiff for the period from June 1, 1937, to December 31, 1940, aggregated $7,795.50 as of January 7, 1942.

Plaintiff seeks to enjoin defendant from proceeding against the plaintiff under the Tax Act, and also seeks an adjudication as to the liability of the plaintiff under the Act, claiming (1) that the assessments are illegal and void as a burden to and direct tax upon interstate commerce in violation of Article I, Section 8, of the Constitution of the United States, and Section 1 of the 14th Amendment; (2) that they are unfair and discriminatory in violation of these sections and of Sections 1 and 12, Article I of the Connecticut Constitution in that there is discrimination in assessments between plaintiff and others in the same business; (3) that there is an unconstitutional delegation of power to the defendant in violation of Article II, Constitution of Connecticut, and Amendment 14, Section 1, Constitution of the United States; (4) that the assessments are not authorized by

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the statute; and (5) that the assessments are based on inaccurate computations.

It is agreed that no plain, speedy and efficient remedy may be had in the state courts either by appeal, Lathrop v. Norwich, 1930, 111 Conn. 616, 151 A. 183, or by injunction, Waterbury Savings Bank v. Lawler, 1878, 46 Conn. 243.

Since no interlocutory injunction is sought, the case is properly before this court rather than the three-judge court established under Section 266 of the Judicial Code, 28 U.S.C.A. § 380. Smith v. Wilson, 1926, 273 U.S. 388, 47 S.Ct. 385, 71 L.Ed. 699.

The case being properly before this court, the court has jurisdiction to determine all the questions of the case, local as well as federal. R.R. Commission of California v. Pacific Gas & Electric Co., 1938, 302 U.S. 388, 58 S.Ct. 334, 82 L.Ed. 319.

In leasing its terminals in Connecticut, operating owned and leased pick-up trucks, maintaining local office and terminal staffs as well as representatives to maintain contact with Connecticut shippers, plaintiff is carrying on business in its corporate capacity within the state of Connecticut. Yet all its business is in interstate commerce.

Does the statute apply to a...

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